FORT MYERS — Ahnie Jumper and Cheyenne Nunez grew up playing a variety of sports including softball. Both are extremely athletic and were the cream of the crop on their respective high school teams.
Ahnie is from Big Cypress and attended American Heritage High School in Plantation; Cheyenne is from Brighton and attended Okeechobee High School. They never competed against each other until they reached college.
Both are college sophomores and for the second time in two years they played each other. Ahnie is a catcher for Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers; Cheyenne is the centerfielder for State College of Florida in Bradenton. They talked about their experience before the Oct. 13 fall ball game at FGCU in Fort Myers in preparation for the upcoming season that starts in the winter.
“Last year a lot of Tribal supporters came out,” Ahnie added. “They didn’t cheer for our teams, they cheered for us. It was all about team Seminole.”
FGCU had only two games left in its fall season, but this was SCF’s first game of the fall season, which is basically scrimmages in preparation for the regular season that starts in February.
“They are always our first game of the season and it’s always a good experience,” Cheyenne said.
Cheyenne feels strongly about this season, noting that her team’s practices have been really good. It will be her last year playing for SCF and she hopes to get picked up by another school, maybe even FGCU.
“We’re super competitive this year,” she said. “Everyone’s on the same page. We’re hungry and really want to win.”
Last year, Ahnie mostly played third base but she’s back to her comfort zone behind the plate this year.
November is Native American Month and they talked about being the only ones on their teams. Both said their teammates ask them about their culture.
“I’m the first Native American they have ever met,” Ahnie said. “I believe we are setting an example; not a lot of Tribal members pursue higher education.”
FGCU and SCF won’t meet during the upcoming regular season, so Ahnie and Cheyenne cherished their only game against each other.
“It’s always fun to play each other,” Cheyenne said. “It’s good to be able to do something like this because life could be way worse.”